Support for people affected by the recent NSW floods

22 March 2021

There’s help if you’ve been directly affected by the March 2021 floods in New South Wales. We have payments that can help during a natural disaster.

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is a lump sum payment of:

  • $1,000 for eligible adults
  • $400 for each eligible child under the age of 16.

You can claim a payment if you’ve been seriously affected as a direct result of the floods. For example:

  • your home has been severely damaged or destroyed
  • you’ve been seriously injured.

You can also claim Disaster Recovery Allowance if you’ve lost income as a direct result of the floods. If you’re eligible you can get it for up to 13 weeks, starting from the date you lose income.

The Disaster Recovery Allowance is taxable. You can ask us to withhold tax deductions from your payments.

You can’t get the allowance if you get any of the following payments during your claim period:

To be eligible, you need to live in one of the affected local government areas (LGAs) and meet other criteria. Check more eligibility details, the LGAs and claims deadline for the following payments:

If you have a partner, you can both get a payment. You just need to make separate claims.

Pausing debt activity

We’ve paused all debt raising and recovery activities in flood affected LGAs. This means if you live in a disaster declared area, you don’t need to make repayments on any outstanding Centrelink debts for 6 months. If you want to continue making repayments during this time, you can.

If you have set up repayments from your bank account, via EFT or direct debit, you can simply stop making payments. You don’t need to tell us.

If you have a payment arrangement or withholdings from your Centrelink payment, you can stop these using your Centrelink online account. Go to the Manage the money you owe service and adjust your withholding or payment arrangement to $0. You can set this up for the length of the pause.

You can only reduce your payment arrangement to $0 using Manage the money you owe if you live in a disaster declared area.

You can also adjust your withholdings or payment arrangement by calling your regular payment line.

When debt activities start again, we’ll work with you to find an option that best suits your situation.

Next steps

Read more about what support is available if you’ve been affected by the floods.

If you’re going through a difficult time, our social workers can help.

Use our Payment and Service Finder to see what other payments you may be eligible for.

Keep up to date with our office closures.

If you’re a job seeker or participant, you can contact your provider for more information about your requirements.

Page last updated: 30 March 2021